What is my wear pattern telling me vs when I was running less?

Becoming more serious about running and wondering if my style has changed (and what to do about it!)

10 messages
12/09/2012 at 08:29

Hi all,

I'm new to posting here, although a lurker for a while. Just thought i'd see if anyone had any tips on reading my wear pattern. If I'm in the wrong forum please let me know!

I have been running for 5 or 6 years occasionally for general fitness, but only this summer started to get more serious and do a half marathon (in three weeks). Training is fine for distance and I'm trying now to add a little speed, but in the process of more intensive running I've started feeling a few aches that make me wonder about my technique and shoes.

When I started out, I went to a running shop, tried a few pairs of shoes and came away with Asics-2110. Felt great, needed no breaking in, etc. I've replaced them with the next year's model most years.

In the intervening period, I had a mid-sole foot injury on my right foot from an assault, which I think slightly changed the way I run. My normal technique made that injury ache somewhat (we are now four years after the event) so I think I naturally came to run defensively to compensate for it.

I mention that because I now have problems with the left foot. Nothing major, just aching around the heel/achilles area a bit. But when I look at the wear pattern on my current running shoes I notice that my left foot now has marked wear on the outside of the forefoot. Nothing on the other sole like that.

So what I'm asking is - do you think this is telling me that I'm in the wrong shoe. (Or perhaps that I'm in the wrong left shoe and my right shoe is fine ?)

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

12/09/2012 at 09:12

Could be, or does where you run have a camber that means you are just rubbing it more there and also feeling the extra work caused by that?


12/09/2012 at 09:15

Hi, good question on the camber, but my run is always an out-and-back so the wear should end up symmetrical!

12/09/2012 at 09:42

As yu are running more, do you need to change your shoes more - also if you are doing more training and increasing the speed are you starting to run more on the mid foot rather than heel? 

12/09/2012 at 10:21

Thanks Grendel...I am running on reasonably new shoes so I don't think that's a worry.

The mid-foot thing is entirely possible though - I have been reading up but I admit I know very little about how my technique and where I strike should change as I speed up.

I do think my style tends towards being 'heavy'. As a cyclist who used to only run in the off-season, I always found I had a big aerobic base and could run good distances as long as I went at a kind of lumbering pace, and I feel that may mean my foot action is not very healthy.

12/09/2012 at 13:51

I just found a long time ago that my footplant gradually changed as I got fitter and faster it wasn't a conscious decision. Just happened naturally.

12/09/2012 at 14:22

Is it normal to have asymmetry between your feet? I'm wondering if I need a different kind of shoe on each foot or whether it could be managed with insoles or something.

12/09/2012 at 21:29

I have slightly asymmetrical wear on some of my shoes.


It's better to try to correct it by strength-building through cross training rather than trying to switch to a different shoe. Look particularly for work-outs aimed at runners that focus on hips, glutes and core. Or get doing some swimming, kayaking, mountain-biking... .

17/09/2012 at 21:28

I needed a new pair of trainers last weekend and went to get my feet looked at and my gait analysed, turns out although i distribute the pressure on my feet symmetrically but when I run I roll in on my right ankle more than my left so although my feet are symmetical my gait isn't.

18/09/2012 at 16:58
Carbon Crank wrote (see)

Hi, good question on the camber, but my run is always an out-and-back so the wear should end up symmetrical!

But do you run on the same side of the road/pavement on the way out as on the way back? Or do you always run on the left or the right? You can do an out-and-back, but unless you're retracing your footsteps exactly, it's unlikely you'll be running 'evenly' overall.

Anyhoo... Yes, it's possible to have asymmetrical feet, legs, gait and/or shoe wear. I think it's fairly common actually. Gait analysis could help you figure this out. If you land/push off normally with one foot but do something odd with the other, and it's causing you problems/pains/injuries, the usual solution is neutral shoes with custom made orthotic inserts.

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